What is automation and types of automation

What is automation?

Automation is the process in which performing operations by using different kinds of machines. Automation is done by using control systems and also by using information technologies and this will reduce the human work. Basically the automation can be described as the act of controlling the equipment by using electronic hardware, automation has played a major role in industrialization and the automation can be described as a step above mechanization.

What is the role of automation in industries or what is industrial automation?

The industrial automation is the process in which creating the products with the help of computers and programmable controllers. Automation uses control systems such as numerical control, PLC, and other industrial control systems. It also uses information technology to control industrial process, by using computer aided technologies such as CAD, CAM, and CAX. In a factory we can automate the production machines and tooling, material handling equipment, inspection equipment, and also can automate the computer systems that control the manufacturing operations. Basically industrial automation is the use of robotic devices to do the manufacturing tasks.

What are the features of industrial automation?

  • There could be automatic machine tools to process parts
  • Assembly machines are automatic
  • Industrial robots to do accurate operations
  • Material handling and storage systems are now automatic
  • Quality control is done by using automatic inspection system
  • Due to the automation there is computer process control and feedback control
  • There are computer systems to do the data collection, decision making and to do the manufacturing activities

What are the advantages of industrial automation?

Because of industrial automation the manufacturing tasks can be done quickly and effectively. In industrial automation we can see the use of computerized robots and these robots can handle difficult task very easily and in hazardous location we can use these automated machinery in place of humans. Because of industrial automation the employees are reduced and because of this the companies can save money, but the robotic machinery is very expensive initially but the less employees in the company will compensate for this loss in the future. There is less chance for the breakdown of the machinery in that case it would cost a lot

What is the need for automation?

By the help of automation we can replace or can reduce up-to 90% and humans can cause errors and in certain conditions the error can increase and that’s why we need automation. The automated device can operate without any error and they are reliable and it would do the work very quickly and accurately. The automated device can replace humans where hard physical work is needed and the automated device can operate in hazardous locations. The automated device can perform tasks which are beyond human capabilities.

What are the types of automation?

There are three type of automation they are

  • Programmable automation
  • Flexible automation
  • Fixed automation

Programmable automation

By using the programmable automation the production automation is capable to handle different product configurations. In the programmable automation the operation sequence is controlled by the program and this program will be a set of instructions and the system will be able to read these instructions and are capable to do the necessary operations according to these instructions. This type of automation makes the system to handle the changes and variations in product configuration and they are very useful for batch production.

Flexible automation

By this type of automation the system can change from one job to the next very quickly and it won’t take any time. By using the flexible automation different kinds of products can be manufactured. The system reprogramming and altering the physical setup is very quick in this and because of this the system is capable to produce different products with less time. This type of automation is really flexible to deal with Varity of soft product, the production rates will be minimum, Manufacturing of different mixes of products can be done.

Fixed automation

In this type of operation the sequence of processing the operation is done by the equipment configuration. The sequence operation will not be difficult and it could be really simple. Basically a fixed automation can be considered as the combination or integration of different operations into one equipment and this would make the system very complex. The initial cost for this automation will be very high and the production rates will be very high in this

What are the difference between fixed automation and programmable automation?

  • In fixed automation the processing or assembly operation in a system is fixed by the equipment configuration, while in case of programmable automation the production equipment is capable to vary the sequence of operations so that it can process variety of product configuration.
  • Fixed automation is composed of workstations and it will be connected to conveyors, while in case of the programmable automation the operation is handled by a program and this program would have a set of instruction code and the system would operate according to this instruction.
  • In fixed automation the customized equipments cost is really high, while in case of programmable automation high investment is required for general purpose equipment.
  • Efficiency and production rate of fixed automation is high when compared to programmable automation and the reason for this could be the different product configuration in programmable automation
  • In programmable automation the system can handle different product configuration while in fixed automation it is not possible
  • Programmable automation is used for medium production and the fixed automation is used for bulk production.

What are the required tools for automation?

In order to do the automation certain tools are required and they are programmable logic controllers, SCADA, Human machine interface (HMI), VFD. A PLC is an electronic device and it can do certain functions like timing, logic sequencing, arithmetic control and lot. The PLC is controlled by a programming software and less wiring is needed for PLC. By using SCADA real time industrial process control is possible and with the help of this remote or local equipments in a factory can be monitored. The SCADA system could determine the faults in a system and can send message to control system. By the help of HMI human and machine interface is achieved.

What are the components and control systems used in automation?

In PLC certain sensors are used to determine the input, and signal is transmitted by using the transmitter. The control systems such as PLC, PID and DCS is used to control the operations. There are output devices such as actuators, drives, control valves, etc are used.

What is test automation?

The automation testing that doesn’t have any disadvantages of manual testing. It uses a software to do the tests and by this it can determine if the actual and predicted output is same or not.

What are the advantages of automation?

  • Productivity is increased
  • Improved quality
  • Cost is reduced
  • Safety in working conditions
  • It replaces human operators in tedious tasks
  • Operation in dangerous environment is possible because of this
  • Accuracy
  • Reliability
  • Quality
  • It can do tasks which is beyond human capability

What are the disadvantages of automation?

  • The sensors or robots that is used in automation can’t take any judgment calls
  • It takes time to repair
  • It could be hazardous and also can cause problems
  • The initial cost will be high for installing machines and equipment
  • High maintenance is required for automated machines

What are the applications of automation?

  • Because of automation food retail industries has changed the payment system has replaced employees due to this and also self-checkout system is done in many supermarkets because of automation.
  • Automation is very useful in mining process and the human labor is decreased
  • Automation is used for military purpose for monitoring and surveillance
  • Automation has played a great role in industrialization, automation is now used in many factories infact we won’t be able to see a factory without the use of automation.
  • Automation is done in many homes